The4th meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Monday, November 16, 2009, at 10:00 AM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Vernie McGaha, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Vernie McGaha, Co-Chair; Representative Tommy Thompson, Co-Chair; Senator Tim Shaughnessy; Representatives Will Coursey, Ted Edmonds, Charles Miller, Carl Rollins II, and Kent Stevens.
Guests: Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education, Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), Robert L. King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), and Wayne Andrews, President, Morehead State University.
LRC Staff: Debra Gabbard, Tom Willis, Greg Rush, Jonathan Lowe, Tracy Goff Herman, Linda Jacobs Ellis, and Amie Elam.
Chairman McGaha began the meeting by welcoming Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Robert L. King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education.
Commissioner Holliday gave a presentation on the KDE biennial budget recommendations (2010-2012).
Representative Miller asked if all schools were up to par on the MUNIS financial software. Commissioner Holliday answered that 95% of districts were on the same page with regard to MUNIS. He stressed the importance of all districts entering valid reliable data the same way. He noted that the National Chamber of Commerce gave Kentucky a B on the state finance system, a report where not many states scored well. Commissioner Holliday stated that the only district that did not have MUNIS fully deployed was Jefferson County.
Representative DeCesare asked for a grand total for the KDE budget request. Associate Commissioner Desai answered that the grand total is $4.3 billion.
Representative Thompson asked if there were any salary increases included in the SEEK budget increases. Commissioner Holliday stated that KDE included in the budget the statutorily mandated 5% salary increase.
Chairman McGaha asked how much the 5% was of the total budget. Associate Commissioner Desai answered that the SEEK base funding goes up $94 million in 2011. The 5% retirement match is $16 million. The local district life insurance in 2011 goes up by $18 million and the local district health insurance goes up by $64 million.
Representative Moberly asked if the 5% increase in SEEK would cover the 5% salary increase. Commissioner Holliday answered yes. Representative Moberly asked how assessment and accountability worked with the existing base funding. Commissioner Holliday answered that KDE looked at what Senate Bill 1 required and what dollars were available. These additional dollars are needed to allow KDE to move toward the testing that Senate Bill 1 requires. KDE has expressed to the Senate Bill 1 Steering Committee that they are confident in becoming a part of a consortium of states to receive funding from the United States Secretary of Education’s $350 million. Associate Commissioner Desai stated that the total requested for assessment and accountability in 2011 is $13.3 million and $15 million for 2012 in terms of what is needed for Senate Bill 1. Representative Moberly asked if the Commissioner hoped to get some of this increase in funds from the federal government. Commissioner Holliday answered yes but said that KDE will not be able to apply for those funds until June 2010. Representative Moberly asked what KDE’s top priority regarding new funding. Commissioner Holliday answered that maintaining SEEK, restoring Flex Focus dollars, and Senate Bill 1 mandates.
Chairman McGaha asked for the funding request for assessment and accountability and professional development. Associate Commissioner Desai answered that the total would be $7 million for 2011 and $9 million for 2012. Commissioner Holliday said KDE would request funds to cover these initiatives in the Race to the Top application.
Chairman McGaha asked how much districts were paying for virtual campus software. Associate Commissioner Desai answered that operating costs for Kentucky State Information System are $5.5 million dollars. $4 million is paid by the districts. The cost is $3.41 per student statewide. Commissioner McGaha asked what was meant by grants, programs, and services on page three of the KDE PowerPoint. Commissioner Holliday answered that this money would be used for math centers, dropout grants, CCLD, Read to Achieve, and other programs.
Robert L. King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education, gave a presentation on CPE biennial budget recommendations (2010-2012).
Senator Shaughnessy addressed his belief that there is a disconnect between what CPE is advocating internally and the perception of the General Assembly. He stated that in the late 90s a vote was taken to remove the community college system from the University of Kentucky (UK) in hopes to elevate them to a top 20 research institution. UK is currently out of research space. He stated if the University of Kentucky is not provided new research space then they will become stagnant and in today’s competitive environment stagnant means falling behind. He strongly encouraged CPE to rethink how they prioritized the budget request. Senator Shaughnessy also stated that he was concerned about the Jefferson Community and Technical College facility that has been closed by the State Fire Marshall for over three years and how it did not make the list that CPE provided. He asked what President King meant about changes to the University of Louisville hospital contract. President King answered that it was not necessarily a change but rather an annual obligation to increase the dollar amount requested. Senator Shaughnessy added that he expects the number one priority should be to graduate students. President King said that the “Capitol List” was not structured to prioritize one project over another.
Chairman McGaha said that he agrees with Senator Shaughnessy that the number one priority needs to be to have students graduate within four years.
Representative Stevens commented that the idea of Senate Bill 1 is to align the process from preschool to postsecondary so that any student will be prepared to be successful. He asked what is being done to prepare and graduate students on time and what has been done in the past. President King stated that each of the campuses is focusing on increasing the number of students to graduate. Kentucky campuses are increasingly focused on supporting students from admission to graduation. He stated that students who never previously thought that college was in their future are now attending college. Data shows that 45% of students need remediation in at least one course of study, 33% need remediation in two or more. Colleges are now accepting students that have more challenges than in the past. An increasing number of students are coming to the universities with significant financial needs. There are a large number of students who start and then stop to go to work for a year before returning to college, making the idea of a four year graduation rate harder to achieve. With the implementation of Senate Bill 1, a lot of the remediation efforts that now take place on college campuses will take place in the K-12 system. President Andrews discussed how the university presidents are absolutely committed to higher education in Kentucky. He stated that starting in the fall of 2011, the number of hours to graduate will go from 128 to 120 to help with the four year graduation goal. There are significant services being provided to students. He stated that retention and gradation is the focus and number one priority for every president on every campus throughout the Commonwealth.
Senator McGaha stated that he is glad to hear that services for students are expanding. He compared the more diverse group of students on college campuses recently to public schools where there are no ACT tests to judge a student by. He said it is important for colleges to serve any student willing to pay the tuition fee to learn. President Andrews mentioned that in 40 communities across the Commonwealth a program called Kentucky Ahead is being implemented, it is designed to work with middle school students to show them that college is a real opportunity. It is important that students know that value needs to be placed on education and that there are resources available to ensure they get the education they need. He stated that currently students are coming to college campuses with very poor math skills. Morehead State University received a grant through the National Science Foundation where developmental math teachers are being deployed into the public school system to instruct K-12 teachers teaching developmental algebra in the high schools. They are also working with the teachers to improve their ability to teach and prepare students. There has been a 78% success rate with this program.
Senator McGaha asked for an update on progress with transfers. Dr. King answered that the higher education workgroup just completed a set of recommendations that CPE will implement. He stated that he is hopeful that within two years the transfer system will be fully fixed.
Representative Moberly stated that he believes that the higher education budget is very realistic and is encouraged by that.
Representative Stevens explained that his background was in public education and that they were to serve and provide for every student that walked through the door. He stated that his hope is that students will not have to pay for courses that they do not receive credit for. He would like CPE to explore ideas and work on the remediation program. President King said that addressing this is part of CPE’s strategic plan.
Chairman McGaha congratulated President King on being able to get all the university president’s signatures on the points of consensus documents. He also thanked him for his work with Commissioner Holliday on the Senate Bill 1 endeavor.
The minutes from the October 22, 2009 meeting were approved. There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:03 P.M.